Summary Of All Quiet On The Western Front

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War- a time of nationalism and comradery struck by intense passion for one’s country. Men, who are most likely still boys at the time, sent off to fight for what seems like the good of the homeland. Paul Baumer and his classmates in All Quiet On the Western Front are thrown into war immediately out of high school, and must learn quickly how deal with the hardships and trials of war. Many of them do not possess the needed roots of experience and joy before the war, must throw away their youth during the fights, and must learn how to cope with no life during time off from the battles. At the beginning, a theme of nationalism is set up. But quickly the cadets realize that war only steals their identity. The boys’ schoolmaster, Kantorek, preaches …show more content…

They now fathom the price of slaughtering man and understand just how detrimental it is to their being. Paul and his comrades begin to ask questions such as, “..what exactly is the war for?” (205). Upon realizing that it is only for the powerful to make their impact in a negative way, they wonder why they are wasting their time fighting it. All it does to the men in battle is explode their identity with each grenade thrown their way. For one instance, Baumer kills an army man named Gèrard Duval from the opposing force and horrible thoughts overcome his mind. He feels guilt for the blood now stained on his hands: “But his name, it is a nail that will be hammered into me and never come out again” (224). All war does is bury their sanity and replace it with dirty hands and guilt that will last a lifetime. Even though Paul only kills one man in hand-to-hand combat, he will always have “the power to recall this forever”(224). He stole the frenchman’s youth and life, something impossible to return. Baumer buried Gèrard Duval’s existence in the trenches, and he will have to carry that burden, a burden that will consume his youthful …show more content…

People leading the life of a civilian believe the war does not have as many negative implications as it does. Baumer arrives home and is immediately in distress: “The names of the stations begin to take on meaning and my heart trembles...[they] mark the boundaries of my youth” (154). He understands the war makes him emotionless, that his past is now buried through the miles of countryside he travels past, and through the graveyards that have exploded around him. His old life holds little significance. He is a man changed by the power of war. As he fully enters his time on leave, he also discerns that no one at the homeland can fathom what it is like to actually fight in a war and how severe the aftermath is. He enters his mother’s home and feels out of place: “‘You are at home...” a sense of strangeness will not leave me, I cannot feel at home amongst these things” (160). Paul has been away for months. He sees many battles and hears many cries of agony. Now, “suspicious, pitiless, vicious, and tough” (26), his reality is ripped from underneath him and lost in grenade shells. He has no sense of identity because he is now what the war has created him to

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